Before beginning this auspicious narration, I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my initiating spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who out of his infinite compassion brought Krsna consciousness to the Western world. may be bestow his blessings on this work. I also offer my obeisances unto all the preceptor spiritual masters and unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even a domb man can recite eloquent Sri Sri Radha Vrndavana Cendra. May Their lotus feet ever dwell in the core of my heart.
The Vedic literatures, compiled by the great sage Srila Vyasadeva, are quite called prasthana: the sruti prasthana [four Vedas and 108 Upanisads], The smrti prasthana [Bhagavad-gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and eighteen Puranas], and the nyiaya prasthana [Vedanta-sutra]. The sruti mantras are the original four Vedas [Sama, Yajur, Rg. and Atharval], and the smrti mantras are the sound logical basis of vedic knowledge. These volumes, containing hundreds of thousands of verse, give information about the creation of the universe, the spirit soul, material nature, the law of karma. logic, the king dom of God, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, in His different incarnations. The smrti prasthana are the factual historical texts of bygone ages, and it is not possible to understand the past unless we consult these literatures. as the modern history books are taken as evidence, so also the ancient historical texts in the from of the Puranas should be taken as evidence. as Lord Krsna states in the Bhagavad-gita, “O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities, but Me no one knows.” (Bg. 7.26) Since Lord Krsna, the original historian, knows the past perfectly, if one is inquisitive and wants to know the truth, one can consult Vedic historical texts to get perfect information of the civilization of yore.
The Mahabharata, compile by Srila Vyasadeva, is a divinely inspired literature descending from the spiritual platform and not the speculation of a fiction writer or the imagination of a poet; nor is the Mahabharata to be considered Hindu mythology as put forward by some modern scholars. According to the Puranas, Srila Vyasadeva is the literary incarnation of the Supreme Lord, and the Vedas are an emanation from the breathing of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore, the Vedas and their supplements should never be considered ordinary books of knowledge, nor should Srila Vyasadeva be considered an ordinary human being. as state by Lord Krsna in the fifteenth chapter of Bhagavad-gita, “By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the Absolute Truth, He is congnizant of all aspects of His creation, and He has a memory that is boundless. When Arjuna was informed by Lord Krsna that He had instructed the science of yoga to the sun-god millions of years before, Arjuna inquired how that was possible, since the sun-god was senior to Lord Krsna by birth Lord Sri Krsna answered by saying. “Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bg. 4.6) If we want perfect knowledge of the past, present and the future, we have to consult the literatures left by the Supreme Godhead. If Arjuna, an intimate associate of the Lord, could not remember the past, then how will the modern historians, scientists and archaeologists give us perfect information of bygone civilizations? Their literatures are mainly speculative and subject to the four frailties of a human being which are: 1) a tendency to commit mistakes, 2) a tendency to cheat. 3) imperfect senses and 4) a tendency to be illusioned. Because all conditioned souls have these four defects, they cannot give perfect knowledge.
We should not be despondent, however. There is a source of perfect knowledge. The bona fide spiritual master, coming in disciplic succession from Lord Krsna, is empowered to transmit pure knowledge, uncontaminated by the four defects of human being. when a man has realized God by following his spiritual master, his senses become as perfect as the Lords: and therefore, he can convey the proper understanding of the Vedic texts without change. The bona fide spiritual master simply repeats, from the realized platform, what the previous acarya has spoken, thus keeping the timeless message intact. he is not simply a parrot but a self-realized soul. The example of a postman is quite appropriate in this regard. The postman’s only business is to pick up the mail and deliver it to its destination. Similarly, the spiritual master delivers the eternal message without change, because he is empowered by God to do so. The true guru acts like a transparent via media between Lord Krsna and the aspiring disciple. Therefore, the same knowledge that Lord Krsna spoke to Arjuna five thousand years ago has been kept intact by disciplic succession of self-realized spiritual masters.
Srila Vyasadeva composed the Mahabharata for the fallen people in this age of Kali. Because people are very much interested in hearing social and historical presentations, Srila Vyasadeva compiled many books such as the Puranas and Mahabharata with the idea of inserting the philosophy of the original Vedic mantras in pastime from. These books have become reading matter for the mass of people with a view to reviving their God consciousness, now forgotten in conditioned life under the three modes of material nature. the real purpose of the Mahabharata is to revive a person’s sense of Krsna consciousness and not so much to present topics of historical references. It is true that a person can benefit by hearing solutions regarding the social, political and economic problems of human society, but, factually, the most important problems in life is how to transcend birth and death. Therefore, the essence of Mahabharata is the Bhagavad-gita, because it contains the solution of how to transcend this material world.
Srila Vyasadeva, therefore, very intelligently composed the Mahabharata with the idea of transforming the materially absorbed mind to the realm of transcendence. In the Mahabharata there are descriptions of the heavenly planets and the opulences of kingly life, towards which materialistics people are very much prone. the summary of the Mahabharata does not emphasize heavenly pleasures and sense gratification, but concentrates on the theme of pure devotional service to Lord Krsna, which Srila Vyasadeva intended the readrs to realize. The essence of spiritual life is that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that we are all His servants. This Siddhanta (conclusion) has been state in the eighteenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, which is included in the Bhisma Parva of the Mahabharata. Thcre Lord Krsna tells Arjuna, “Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your this because you are My very dear friend. Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” (Bg. 18. 65-66)
Vyasadeva hoped that by hearing the pastimes of the Mahabharata, common persons would become attracted to the idea of surrendering Mahabharata with chapter commentary so the each chapter is understood through the eye of Bhagavad-gita. Although the Mahabharata is definitely one of the most exciting stories of all time, I have been careful to keep the reader focused on the essence of spiritual life-devotional service to Lord Krsna-as taught by my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhu-pada. This summary is offered to the lotus feet of His Divine Grace, and I pray that he will fid it pleasing.
The Puranas and Mahabharata extol the glories of Lord Sri Krsna the original Personality of Godhead, From whom all other incarnations, such as Ramacandra, Nrsimha, Varaha, Kapila, etc., continuously emanate like the waves of an ocean. The Lord appears in innumerable divine forms, but the original of Lord Krsna, who plays His Flute and stands in a three-fold bending form. This Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, appeared five thousand years ago at the end of the Dvapara-yuga to reestablish religious principles and to protect the devotees
In His early pastimes. Lord Krsna lived in the land Vrndavana with His foster father and mother, Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda devi. The Lord caused His spiritual abode, Goloka Vrndavana, to descend from the spiritual world to the mundane material plane. That tract of land is ninety miles south of New Delhi and is known as Vrdavana. There. Lord Sri Krsna sported with His cowherd friends and displayed pastimes unequaled in the history of the world. When the Lord was sixteen years old. He left Vrndavana to live in Mathura city with His real mother and father, Vasudeva and Devaki. Later, the great city of Dvaraka was built, and He resided there with His 16,108 queens. Mother Earth had prayed for the Lord to appear and lift her great burden, which existed as numerous demoniac military divisions. These military phalanxes, led by such great demons as Jarasandha, Kamsa, Salva and Duryodhana, were all annihilated, either by the Lord Himself or through His great devotees like Bhima and Arjuna. The Mahabharata is a factual accounts of how the burden was lifted and how religious principle were reestablished.
We hope that those who read auspicious narration will appreciate the Supreme Lord as Partha Sarathi(the chariot driver of Arjuna). lord Krsna held the bridle whip and the reigns of the chariot for His devotee; and as the bridle whip and the reigns of the chariot for His devotee; and as the celebrated Arjuna crossed the Kuruksetra battlefield, he annihilated the army of Duryodhana, which constituted a burden to mother Earth. This account of the life of Krsna and Arjuna is meant for those who are trying to revive the great jewel of Krsna consciousness. By hearting about the activities and instructions of Lord Sri Krsna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, the mind comes to rest on the transcendental form and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. As confirmed by the Lord Krsna Himself in the Bhagavad-gita, “One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Bg. 4.9) Our divine spiritual master, Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Sri Srimad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Pranhupada, heard the Mahabharata in his youth and would dream about these wonderful pastimes and reenact them with his young friends. It is our desire that all aspiring devotees in this fallen age of Kali follows in the footsteps of his Divine Grace, and by fixing the transcendental form and activities of the Supreme Lord in their hearts, gain the ultimate goal of life, going back home, back to Godhead. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
“The Mahabharata is glorified because it contains the conclusions of all scriptures. Long ago, on the request of Srila Vyasa, Lord Brahma and the other demigods came together with all the great sages and placed the Mahabharata on one side of a scale and the entire Vedas on the other. The Mahabharata, it turned out, weghed more because of its greatness (mahattva) and heaviness (bhara-vattva). For this reason it is called Maha-bharata.”
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